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Printers - Are In-Cartridge Printheads Better?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the which-technology-reigns-supreme dept.

Printer 91

koelpien asks: "I am a tightwad geek who likes to print photos without spending lots of money on OEM ink cartridges. Both Epson and HP have let me down; HP doesn't have a lot of third party cartridges available, and refilling the OEM's is a pain, especially resetting the ink level counter. Epson is just as bad, with cheap low-cost cartridges available, yet using them will often clog the heads, needing multiple ink-depleting cleaning cycles to restore proper flow. I am on the market for a new printer, and want to know which technology most Slashdot users happy with, in relation to printer brand and the use of third-party or refillable inks. Is one technology superior to the others, or are printers mostly the same?"

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91 comments

Printer Model? (3, Informative)

Hardwyred (71704) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467385)

I have never had a single issue with my Epson CX5200, never even had to clean the nozzels and it goes through at least one round of ink every month! I even printed off all of our wedding photos instead of paying for reprints, that was almost 400 5x7 prints! Are you buying the most inexpensive printers and running them hard? Do you have your printer sitting next to a window/TV/Monitor/computer vent where it and the paper will collect more dust then it should? Perhaps your fix will be as simple as just moving your printer to a cleaner/drier spot.

Re:Printer Model? (2, Informative)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468241)

I've been through a lot of Epson printers, and have never regretted it. The clogged printhead occurs sometimes, mostly after the printer has been unused for a while. It is not a big deal.

I am also pleased by the progress they have made on the durability of the inks. This is a great concern, and AFAIK, Epson rules on that side. I have printouts made by a Stylus Photo 870 that were exposed in my living room for over 3 years now, and the colors are still as sharp and balanced as the first day (at least to my eyes). Much better than some Canon I know ;-)

Anyways, printing photos on this kind of printer is more expensive than going to the lab anyways, although I don't know about large printouts...

Re:Printer Model? (2, Insightful)

mpol (719243) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468505)

I have never had a single issue with my Epson CX5200, never even had to clean the nozzels and it goes through at least one round of ink every month!

That is exactly the reason why. If you use it often, the nozzles will stay clean. The problem starts when you don't print often, like not every week, or sometimes months inbetween a printjob. Then you will need to clean the nozzles often (which costs a lot of ink) or you can simply throw the printer away, because a new nozzle is more expensive then a new printer.
So basically, if you print often, several times a week, an Epson printer is good for you. But if you don't print often, stay away from Epson as far as possible.

Re:Printer Model? (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 9 years ago | (#10470158)

"That is exactly the reason why. If you use it often, the nozzles will stay clean. The problem starts when you don't print often, like not every week, or sometimes months inbetween a printjob"

Exactly. My old Epston Stylus 600 is absolutely unusable now because it just sat there for about 3 months. And then the black print head clogged and even with 20+ cleaning cycles, cleaning manually with 99% ispropyl alcohol, more cleaning cycles, etc., the thing simply does not print black anymore. I know that colour inkjet printers are not for me because I simply do not print colour that often.

Re:Printer Model? (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 9 years ago | (#10470001)

never even had to clean the nozzels and it goes through at least one round of ink every month

You hit the nail on the head, really. I've had a Stylus Color 800, then a Stylus Color 980, and both have fallen victim to the same problem. The print heads clog when it sits unused for a while. Even a week is sufficient to cause problems. After a few cleaning cycles, your ink is gone and the heads clog completely.

My solution was to do without a printer for a while (used the ones at work), then buy an HP Color LaserJet 2550n when I got the chance (read: $$$). The toner won't go bad in my lifetime, and though the refills cost $100 per color (x4 colors), they're independent and last for approximately 5000 prints, which will last me a heck of a long time. Plus, it has a network plug and a decent http-based interface.

My only gripes with this setup is that the printer likes to do a warm-up cycle every 6 hours (starting 17 minutes after you turn it on) whether you like it or not. It sits in my bedroom... That, and you can't put it on the battery side of a non-commercial-grade UPS.

Tightwads ought to know (5, Insightful)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467445)

It's cheaper to have your photos printed at the photo lab than to do it at home. The cost of a high quality photo printer more than offsets the gains per photo. Consider that you need to replace the printer after a year or so of heavy printing (these things don't last forever as we all know) and you will typically find yourself far behind what you would have saved if you had just had the photos printed by the lab.

Now, with digital you have the opportunity to select which photos you want to print, plus the ability to digitally enhance pictures before having them printed, so this saves money over film in the long run. However, printing those shots at home is just throwing money down the drain.

Re:Tightwads ought to know (2, Informative)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467643)

I agree. Printing photos at home is a mug's game. If you absolutely must have your photos on display and you don't want to have them printed at a lab, try getting hold of an old laptop and doing a digital picture frame conversion [likelysoft.com].

Re:Tightwads ought to know (-1, Troll)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467901)

That's very interesting... but nobody mentioned photo printing.

Re:Tightwads ought to know (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10467924)

you mean, outside the "I am a tightwad geek who likes to print photos" ?

Re:Tightwads ought to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468456)

nobody mentioned photo printing.

Here I am with two mod points left, and there's no "total fucking retard" moderation option. How frustrating.

Re:Tightwads ought to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10477299)

Most. Retarded. Comment. EVARRRR. Seriously dude, you're a fucknut.

Re:Tightwads ought to know (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468000)

You can hardly argue with 10p for an 8x6" glossy. It gets cheaper if you do more, in some places. And of course, for some lucky people, it's 0p per print, if your gf works at the processing lab. My local Fuji minilab (where my gf works) takes the attitude that if the lab's not doing anything, the staff might as well be printing their own stuff to get more experience in using the kit.

Re:Tightwads ought to know (1)

rawgod0122 (574065) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468678)

Depends on what you need to do. If it is 8x10 printing, then go get yourself a Epson R200 ($100), pay for the photo paper (not the premium), and buy the retail ink ($14/cart).

It comes out to $2.50 a print. Premium paper brings the cost to about $4 per print. Go to a store and it is much more expensive.

If you are trying to do it cheaper then this, you are going to be pissed off and not get results worth looking at.

Re:Tightwads ought to know (1)

GoRK (10018) | more than 9 years ago | (#10469243)

Whatever place you are going to is ripping you off. The best camera shop in the city here only charges about $1.50 for the same service, and if you get your color profiles right and take them an appropriate file, even the cheap places like Wal Mart or a drug store photolab's machine will produce a very good print for about $0.75.

It used to be the case that digital prints were expensive like this, but not anymore. The last time I paid more than a couple of bucks for one was probably in 1995.

Re:Tightwads ought to know (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 9 years ago | (#10469701)

You can get an 8x10 on film paper for $0.75? Bullshit.

Re:Tightwads ought to know (1)

GoRK (10018) | more than 9 years ago | (#10473353)

You think they cost anywhere close to $0.75 to actually print? Those machiens don't much care the area they are printing. 4x6 photographs can be printed on average for 20 cents or .833 cents/in^2 at retail prices (though you can find some poaces that print 4x6's for less than 15c each). That should price an 8x10 at 67 cents at the same rate based on area. It's not like an 8x10 print is unnecessarily oversize for a standard photo printer or that producing them has any higher cost or margin of error, so the fact that some places choose to charge 3 to 4 times the equivalent rate (or more) to print them doesn't mean that you have to pay it. A 20"x30" print is another matter.

I was incorrect in saying that you can get them from wal-mart, but that does not mean they are not available elsewhere at a reasonable price.

There was a cafiteria at a building I used to work in that charged management and the new folks began charging 25c for an 8oz cup of coffee and 75c for a 16oz cup. They wondered why they were always selling people two cups of coffee. They finally figured it out that this was not an anazingly effective strategy, though, and decreased the price of the larger cup to avoid wasting money on tons of extra 8oz styrofoam cups. We can hope the photo-printers figure this same thing out soon.

Re:Tightwads ought to know (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 9 years ago | (#10469683)

It comes out to $2.50 a print. Premium paper brings the cost to about $4 per print. Go to a store and it is much more expensive.

I dunno, I get 8x10s on real film with no fading issues for about CDN$10, which is approximately US$6/print. Still dirt cheap to me, and I get 4x6s for $0.50/print at the same place (Black's). For the $2/print it's simply not worth arsing around with the printer and ink and all that hassle. I don't print all that many 8x10s anyway, maybe a dozen a year.

Re:Tightwads ought to know (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 9 years ago | (#10469640)

I don't even think the high quality printers are worth it. Our Epson Sylus Photo 1280 can't print high quality for shit, and it's supposed to be a damn fine photo-quality printer. It doesn't seem to matter if we use Epson inks and paper or refill inks and third party photo paper; the ink seems to "pill" on the page sometimes, the dithering blows goats and generally the quality sucks. Adjusting the printing properties in the win32 driver doesn't seem to do a whole lot to help, either.

get a laser (2, Insightful)

austad (22163) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467496)

You can get a greyscale laser printer for around $100. My Samsung was around $179, and it rules. I got it about 2.5 years ago, I've put a ton of paper through it, and I'm still on the same toner.

Color laser printers can be had for $400 or less now.

Re:get a laser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10467512)

where can you get a color laser for $400

Re:get a laser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10467797)

I've seen this one [minolta-qms.com] for around $400 in Sweden...

Re:get a laser (1)

jalet (36114) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468393)

> I've seen this one for around $400 in Sweden...

but of course you have to make a 12000 km trip by car, boat and plane to buy it ! ;-)

Re:get a laser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10469531)

Na.. just 2km.

Must not..

Blablabla Oil.. blablabla my SUV .. blabla Support blablabla

Gah!, Couldn't resist ;)

It should be possible to find it cheaper in US since we have 25% VAT on such stuff here..

Re:get a laser (1)

Grand (152636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10469130)

A pretty good color laser printer is the Minolta 2300. Right now, there is a 100.00 rebate from Minolta if you buy one for no less than 495.00 for the 2300W and 595.00 for the 2300DL(networking). BUT, it only lasts until October 9 (tomorrow).

here is the rebate form. http://printer.konicaminolta.net/rebate/index.asp

and here is a link to a site with the price at the lowest you can buy it to get the rebate

2300w
http://www.laserquipt.com/cgi-bin/category.cgi?ite m=QM-6693&type=store/ [laserquipt.com]

2300DL
http://www.laserquipt.com/cgi-bin/category.cgi?ite m=QM-6691&type=store/ [laserquipt.com]

Re:get a laser (1)

Polo (30659) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467845)

I'd be interested in knowing how color lasers compare to inkjets for photos.

None of the inexpensive color laser printer descriptions I've seen ever say anything about photos. They mostly have ambiguous claims that makes me think they're for colorful primary-colored pie charts and that's it.

Does anyone have experience with laser printers and photo-quality output?

Re:get a laser (1)

Welshalian (733176) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467886)

Yes, they're terrible. I printed a few color pictures on an HP LJ8550, and they all look like I'd melted wax on them or something.

Re:get a laser (1)

vrt3 (62368) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467949)

I printed a number of pictures on the HP Color LaserJet 3500 at work, and I'm very pleased with the results.

Re:get a laser (1)

nefertari (240766) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468093)

If you print a photo with a laser printer it will look printed as pictures in books, it will not look like a photo. The quality with my Minolta Magicolor 2350 is quite good.

Re:get a laser (1)

GreenKiwi (221281) | more than 9 years ago | (#10469226)

Agreed. It has that SemiGlossy Book finish, instead of the really glossy photo finish, but I have found the output from the HP 4500 to be preferable to that of most inkjets I've used. But it's probably a case of "to each his own."

Re:get a laser (1)

GoRK (10018) | more than 9 years ago | (#10469304)

They are passable, but I would not ever call them "quality prints" -- the color toner will fade in sunlight, etc. much much faster than inkjet ink will. The main disadvantage in printing photos is that because the ink is not liquid it does not have any chance at all to mix with the other colors, thus the only way to create colors is via screen printing. Although the lasers are very high resolution, you can always tell the difference up close.

If you want the benefits of both types of printing, you can try picking up something like an ALPS MD-5000 "micro dry" printer from ebay. They have been discontinued for a long time, but they are remarkable printers. The MD5000 has a dye sublimiation add on that produces true-color "ink" dots on the page. They are 1200 DPI, and they hold up to 7 colors of ink including white and metallic. They can amazingly even print on stuff like FOIL. They are slow, though, and noisy, which a small price to pay for the capabilities and the low price.

Re:get a laser (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 9 years ago | (#10470049)

My HP CLJ 2550n does 600x600 dpi. My old Epson SC980 did 2880x1440 dpi.

Color laser printers aren't for photos. I'd be wary of putting photo paper through them, anyway. It'd probably deposit all sorts of sticky photo paper stuff on the drum, costing >$100 to fix/replace.

Re:get a laser (1)

shepd (155729) | more than 9 years ago | (#10475478)

>Does anyone have experience with laser printers and photo-quality output?

I have pretty much the first colour laser made (an HP Laserjet Color... no part number extension) and while it doesn't look great, modchip diagrams print readably. It prints at only 300 dpi for colour.

I expect the technology has advanced from "muddy but good enough to give away" to "good enough to hang up on the wall" over the past decade.

HP laser (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10469733)

We have one of the cheapie HP colour lasers. While the thing does wonders for brochures, etc... and prints better on plain paper than my HP PhotoInkjet, the quality of the inkjet for photographic images seems quite a lot better than the laser.

I'm not sure that colour lasers are so much intended for picture printing as they are for letterheads with coloured logos, etc?

Canon (4, Informative)

gizmo_mathboy (43426) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467510)

They are reasonably priced for the printer itself, about $100, it color separated (CMYK) with a cartridge for each color and they're only about $10 per cartridge.

You could just get a color laser. I like the Xerox Phaser 8400. Very cool.

Re:Canon (0, Offtopic)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467855)

Dunno, I got some color hp laser at work and it seems to disappoint me.

1. After sending a print job to it, it takes about 2-3 minutes (maybe more) for it to "warm up" and do its "calibration.

2. even after a calibration, its still off! print a straight line of color and the 2 colors don't blend perfectly, leaving a thin border of slightly off.

Re:Canon (2, Insightful)

real_smiff (611054) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467990)

Canon are great but if anyone can tell me how to re-seal a (official) cartridge properly i'd LOVE to know - i've tried blue-tack (as per ink mnfr recommendation), i've tried insulating tape, and it's still driving me potty. half the time it seems to seal and i come down in the morning and find all the ink from one or more colour dumped into the printer. it understandably has trouble coping with that much ink going into the pads. i have a Canon i850 btw. my next plan is maybe to try a hot glue gun to seal the hole if i can find one but i'm slightly worried about melting the cartridge. i should have drilled the holes neater in the first place i know :/

Re:Canon (2, Insightful)

iainl (136759) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468126)

The thing with Canon ink cartridges (I've got an i350) is that they're actually pretty reasonably priced - 5.99 in the UK, rather than 23.99 for the HP.

So I just don't bother going down the refill route.

Re:Canon (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10467993)

The Phaser 8400 is a very nice printer, but in general color lasers produce pretty ugly output. They're also expensive to use and maintain: color toner, belts, fusers, fuser oil, transfer assemblies, rollers, imaging drums, whitchawhatzits every way you look. They're also extremely mechanically complex, which affects general reliability. On the low end you probably won't have so much maintenance, but the output will be crummy and slow. Color lasers, as I see them, are really niche printers: they're perfect for business offices that can afford to maintain them and that need high speed copies of business-style color documents rather than photos. In the home they're for people who need printouts that don't bleed when wet, and people who need to print colored graphics, charts, and text (again, not photos).

If you're looking for a color laser for home use, consider a solid inkjet instead. They don't have the mechanical complexity of lasers, their output quality is on par with most lasers, and their printouts won't run when the paper gets damp. The ink, however, can be about as expensive.

If you only need black text and grayscale graphics, get a good solid laser printer; the toner cartridges in most laser printers last for years. I know people who have never replaced their toner cartridges since buying their laser printers in the late-90s (although eventually the imaging drum dies even if there's still toner left). Cartridges may run more than $100, but will usually last for thousands of pages. Remanufactured cartridges are usually much less expensive, are readily available, are about as good as brand new carts. If you get a black-only laser printer, consider whether the imaging drum is integrated with the cartridge. If it's not, find out how much it costs to replace and compare the costs and capacities of cartridges with printers that do use an imaging drum integrated with the cartridge. The advantage of an integrated drum is that you'll replace it every time you replace the cartridge, so it'll always be fresh, but you may pay slightly more for the catridges. On the other hand, some low end printers may use expensive cartridges without an integrated drum so you may end up spending more per page to keep them fed. Separate imaging drums can be expensive and have a finite life. You're probably better off to get a printer with a higher up front cost and lower maintenance needs than a printer with lots of silly expensive pieces to replace.

The Canon inkjet printers seem like alright devices, but I've not used them extensively. They may, however, suffer the same issues as the person posting the original question wished to avoid. BTW, the Canons typically use an ink tank separate from the print head.

My solution is to buy $40 to $60 Epsons, which come with two brand new cartridges (each of which would alone cost $25), then buy the cheapest off-brand ink I can find (usually $4 to $7 per cartridge), and throw the printer out as soon as it has any hint of trouble. This is a whole lot cheaper than any other strategy I've come up with, and the Epsons produce excellent quality color printouts when printing on good paper. Even with the cheap ink I haven't had very serious clogging problems, and even if I do have to sometimes run three cleaning cycles after the printer has been sitting for a couple weeks, that's still only a few cents worth of ink. Finally, I haven't had to replace my $60 Epson yet...

You mileage may vary.

Oh, BTW, I use Dealink.com [dealink.com] to locate dirt cheap ink. NOTE: I'm not affiliated with dealink.com in any way, and if anyone would care to post a better resource for locating dirt cheap ink, I'd probably use it too. :-)

Re:Canon (1)

shepd (155729) | more than 9 years ago | (#10475580)

>Cartridges may run more than $100, but will usually last for thousands of pages

If you search around google, you can get toner refill kits. Usually you pay about $25 for the hole melting tool (which is nothing more than a high wattage soldering with a special end). After that, you pay about $15 per bottle of toner, which will fill the entire cartridge. Most cartridges are good for about 2 - 3 refills. Fresh bottles should include sealing caps.

For the ungodly cheap person, you can then replace the drum yourself. Replacement drums vary wildly on price, from $20 - $300.

If you're not so cheap or mechanically inclined, when you wear out the drum, you can purchase a new cartridge at that point. The drum, almost always, is going to be integrated into the cartidge [note: For the love of God don't buy a Brother laser printer - $300 drums, only 10k pages!]).

I have done all this myself on a laserjet 5si, which sees about 5,000 pages output per month, and I've been 100% happy with the resulting output. One note: you'll probably spill toner all over the first time. Do the work outside, or maybe in a laundry tub (clean up with cold water only, hot water will fuse the toner). And DON'T SQUEEZE THE BOTTLE. JUST DON'T. ;-)

Re:Canon (1)

nicolas.e (715954) | more than 9 years ago | (#10486460)

My brother HL 5050 :

From the manual :
This printer can print up to 20,000 pages* with one drum unit. * At 5% print coverage (A4 or Letter size). The actual number of printed pages will vary depending on the average type of print job and paper.

From froogle : $147 at several shops.

Re:Canon (1)

shepd (155729) | more than 9 years ago | (#10486604)

> My brother HL 5050 :

The brother HL-760 is only rated for 10,000 pages. Searching google I see prices have come down to the ~$150 range, but that doesn't take the sting out of it. Furthermore, the printer has a drum life counter, and will refuse to print after 10,000 pages. And, to add insult to injury, resetting that counter requires a special plastic sheet (which I managed to find the specs for).

Once reset, to add insult to injury, Brother was right. Their "high output" drum completely poops out at about 15,000 pages.

The drum built into the cartridge on my HP Laserjet 5si has served us through 3 boxes of paper (15,000 sheets) and still looks as good as new. And it isn't even supposed to last more than about 5,000 pages. And that's a wide format drum. What's more is a replacement drum cost me $12.95 [tonerrefillkits.com] (more than 10x less what a Brother drum costs).

Yeah, I'm sure you're not going to believe me. That's ok -- when the drum in your HL 5050 "turns off" and you decide to sqeeze a few more pages from it, you'll be cursing it for Brother's lack of quality and high expense, too.

If you take a look at google groups [google.com] results, Brother is infamous for defective drums on their laser printers.

Re:Canon (2, Informative)

fruitbane (454488) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468426)

I second this recommendation for Canon. I did some research a couple years ago along this line.

HP and Lexmark have print heads included in the ink cartridges. This means you always have a fresh print head, but it also means you pay more. And Lexmark and HP are the two worst companies about ink technology and lockouts.

Epson has the print heads in the printer itself, but they can only be replaced by Epson techs and cost quite a bit.

Canon printers are a little cheaper than the others, with cheaper ink as well, and the print heads, though in the printer, should be user replaceable AND relatively affordable. Now, though nice, Canon inkjet printers tend to be a little less cutting edge than the competition, but they're still excellent all around and should prove to be the most affordable solution.

Re:Canon (1)

topham (32406) | more than 9 years ago | (#10471991)


I second this. I bought a Canon (S330) printer over a year ago and it has continued to serve me well, the Black ink cartridges are CHEAP ($10CDN!!!). They don't last terribly long, but I figure 2 cartridges are about equivalent to 1 HP for my old printer. And a lot cheaper.

The only problem I have with it is I don't print very much most of the time. (And when I do it's typically a few hundred pages at once). So a couple of black ink cartridges have dried up on me.

That said, the cartridge dried up, but the print-head seems fine. The printer was cheap, prints fast and quiet.

Re:Canon (1)

Satan Dumpling (656239) | more than 9 years ago | (#10471964)

I have a Canon F60 and I am most pleased.
Here's a review. [com.com]
It's huge, but I print rarely and it has not shown any sign of clogging whatsoever so far. And the ink is cheap and CMYK in four separate cartridges. Has a compact flash reader too.
I was so happy to dispose of my Lexmark POS. Their cartridges are expensive and clog immediately. I will never ever give Lexmark another cent again.

Re:Canon (1)

wrf3 (314267) | more than 9 years ago | (#10479759)

A "me, too!" for Canon. Had an Epson and the print-head clogged twice. The first time it was cleaned under warranty. The second time would have cost more than a new printer.

HP's have the print heads in the cartridge which makes them expensive.

Canon print heads can be replaced yourself (although I haven't had to do so). One son has a Canon 920 for college and we have an i560 for home. No regrets.

In-cartridge print heads for me (1)

EvilMal (562717) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467527)

I have gone through two Epson printers (Stylus Color 640 and Stylus Color 740) because ink dried in the print head. Both printers were not worth the price in money or effort to fix them (both reasonably old), so they were both trashed. They had both been hand-me-downs from others anyway.

However, I suddenly found myself having to do alot of printing for classes so I went and specifically looked for a printer with the print head on the ink cartridge. I got an HP Photosmart 7260 because it was the cheapest one I could find in the crappy town, and I've been happy ever since. When I buy a new ink cartridge it's going to be a bit expensive, but it's better than having to toss the whole printer, IMO. :]

Re:In-cartridge print heads for me (3, Informative)

Twylite (234238) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467937)

Similar experience here. The head "burned out" in my Canon BJC printer. Cost of replacement R600 (~ $92); cost of newer, better printer R450 (~ $70).

If you can remove the print head from the printer you can often recover it by soaking in warm water (just the end bit, really) and then allow it to dry thoroughly. Doesn't work with burned out heads unfortunately.

In my experience, cartridges without a head are cheaper, but your printer will not last as long. Personal opinion, if you don't need color, get a laser.

Re:In-cartridge print heads for me (1)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468405)

I too suffered through a couple of Epson Stylus color 740's... horrible print head storage. My in-laws had the same worthless printer and same problems.

I was glad it stopped printing so I could replace it with a $60 Canon S400 that has run like a trooper for the last 3 years!

I purchased a printer dock for my camera that uses thermaldye transfer and never looked back. If I need larger prints - the photo mart takes care of me.

It depends. (4, Insightful)

sakusha (441986) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467599)

Your question is too vague. What are your requirements? Do you do high volume printing? Or just a few HQ prints every few weeks?

This really makes a difference. Back in the 80s, before inkjets were common, I used to operate an Iris inkjet 3072, it made 11x17 prints with a cost of paper and ink of about 20 cents, IIRC (we charged $75 per print). Quart bottles of ink cost less than modern inkjet carts, each CMYK color was fed from a bottle, I only changed bottles about once a week, and the printer ran full time about 16 hours a day. BUT the printer cost $80k and the annual service contract was something around $8k. And you had to buy the service contract because the print heads (nozzles actually) died often, they required continual cleaning and replacement, it was a very high maintenance beast.
The point of this anecdote is you can get really REALLY cheap-per-print consumables (ink) but it isn't practical unless you're doing incredibly high volume or you need extremely high quality prints. You've merely shifted the cost from consumables to hardware maintenance.

So get us some more data on your requirements, and we'll be better able to make a recommendation. You could buy an Iris, or a cheapo disposable Lexmark, it all depends on what kind of printing you do.

Re:It depends. (1)

quintessent (197518) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467811)

I'll have to second this.

Another thing to consider is what you expect in terms of quality. Do you want your prints to last a long time? Do you want to be able to use color profiles to make the color closely match your intent?

A really good place to do some reading, especially for people going for extra high-quality output is inkjetart.com [inkjetart.com].

Personally, I have two Epson printers. One is a $600 Epson 2200 using Epson's own UltraChrome inks, which can go for 150 years without fading if you use the right paper. The other is an Epson c82, which I got for $30 as a display model on clearance. I bought third-party ink for it on sale, probably $25 for two full sets of black and color inks. When I first put it in, I had to run a flew ink cleaning cycles, but it has performed well since then.

Perhaps you could post here and say more about what you are looking for.

Re:It depends. (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467847)

Sorry, your Ultrachrome inks aren't going to last 150 years, no matter what you do. If you're spending big bucks on expensive "archival" inks, you're wasting your money.
I have spent years trying to tell people that there is no such thing as archival inkjet prints. It is technologically impossible with all current inkjet technologies. But that is a long story, full of technical details that are irrelevant to the original question.
If you want archival prints, you'll have to output your digital images to a film recorder and have the transparencies printed at a color film lab that specializes in archival fine-art printing.

Re:It depends. (1)

quintessent (197518) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468295)

But that is a long story, full of technical details that are irrelevant to the original question.

It may well be relevant. The poster was asking about what printer to buy and what inks. If the poster is thinking of purchasing archival inks, you might be able to talk him out of it.

At the minimum, I'm interested to hear why you think archival inks are useless. Of course there are no guarantees, but do you completely reject the accelerated aging tests conducted by Wilhelm Research?

One thing about archival inks is they don't seem more expensive than the standard brand-name inks--it's really the printer that will cost more.

Re:It depends. (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 9 years ago | (#10470088)

well ok, since you asked...

Yes, I completely reject the Wilhelm Research tests. They are fundamentally flawed. For example, Wilhelm released a 100+ year rating for an earlier Epson "archival" inkset that turned out to fade significantly after only about 30 days, Epson withdrew it and reformulated their inks almost immediately.

Archival inks aren't useless, they just aren't archival. They'll generally last a bit longer than nonarchival inks, but they aren't archival in any sense of the word used by art curators.

The most fundamental problem is that all current inkjet technologies require that the inks conduct electricity, they just add some salts to the liquid (if you recall your basic physics classes, water doesn't conduct electricity but if you add salt, it does conduct). Salt promotes oxidization, the main enemy of pigment stability.

These effects cannot accurately be predicted in accelerated aging tests that Wilhelm performs. There are many other chemical problems with inkjet ink (or more properly, dye) and the methods used to test archivality, but I don't have time to get into it right now. I'll just give you a quickie.. Wilhelm's ratings are for estimated display life under a specific lighting intensity. That intensity is far lower than any lighting found in normal usage, it's not even bright enough to SEE the print clearly. So the 150 year ratings are not for a print hanging in your sunny living room, it's 150 years for a print hanging in your closet with a 10 watt light bulb lit about once a day for 10 minutes. Light promotes oxidization of the inks, keep the prints in total darkness and you'll extend their life, but they'll still fade.

Furthermore, Wilhelm is solely funded by the ink manufacturers, if he doesn't give favorable ratings, his funding will be in jeopardy. Claims of archival qualities always come from people with a financial incentive to overrate the archival qualities. It's a scam.

Re:It depends. (1)

quintessent (197518) | more than 9 years ago | (#10476554)

It's too bad there's not more independent, reliable info out there. Have you heard of tests being performed that are more objective?

One point you've missed is that not all inket "ink" is dye. The Epson Ultrachrome inks are made with pigment. Some third party manufacturers use pigment as well, but the range of colors they reproduce is more limited. Ultrachrome is Epson's way of somehow using polymer coatings to give them a dye-like color range, while offering the supposed long life of pigment.

If you have links to more information, I would be interested to have a look.

Thanks for the info you have already provided.

Re:It depends. (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 9 years ago | (#10476876)

It really is dye because there isn't any binder. Think of oil paint, it's particles that are suspended in an oil binder with some solvent to keep it liquid. The solvent evaporates and the oil hardens and a thick layer of paint with high solids density is deposited. But the inkjet water based "pigments" don't have any binders, it's just the solvent (water) and the pigments. Without a binder to help you get a thick layer (relatively speaking, we're talking microscopic layers here). here isn't any way to get sufficient pigments down on the paper to get an archival print. When you have extremely light pigment application like pale colors, even slight fading is more noticeable than on the heavy solid colors..

I haven't found any really good sources of independent testing, I usually rely on regular art historical circles where archival testing is a whole different world. I think there should be more independent testing of inkjets, but none of the art conservationists really want to go near it, it's way below their standards. I think they'll look at it eventually, but the inks have a ways to go.

I personally use inkjets mostly to make negatives for contact printing in antiquated photo processes that are known to be archival (similar prints made 150 years ago are looking like new). I found some UV-opaque ink that did a wonderful job of making stencils or high contrast negatives for contact printing. But it clogged up my Epson's printheads. The UV ink system comes with clear solvent cleaning carts that you're supposed to print until the ink comes through clear, then put the UV ink cart in, print your negs, take the UV cart out and put the cleaning cart back in, print more until the UV is washed out and the ink is clear again, now put back the regular black ink cart and print until it's black again. What a pain in the ass. You really need to dedicate a printer to this ink, and print a lot of negs every day. I let my inkjet sit for a week with the UV ink carts left in, and the nozzles clogged solid.

Re:It depends. (1)

b-baggins (610215) | more than 9 years ago | (#10470514)

You are correct on the bubblejet technology. The requirements of the ink to vaporize and condense makes it currently technically impossible to make true, long-term colorfast inks.

Epson printers, however, use a mechanical inking system (a piezoelectric crystal) and so can use cold inks. This means their dye technologies are not limited by having to withstand extreme temperature and phase changes during printing like in bubblejet technology.

So, yes, Epson inks can reach 70+ years with no fading without too much difficulty.

Re:It depends. (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 9 years ago | (#10477394)

But the piezo ink droplets are propelled by an electrostatic field (think: Milliken Oil Drop Experiment). Oil droplets have an ionized surface so they can be easily propelled by an electrostatic field. But water droplets are neutrally charged and you need to ionize them to propel them in an electrostatic field. So they add salts to the inks, which as a side effect promotes oxidization of the pigments over the long term. That's how I understand the piezo technology, correct me if I'm wrong, they might have new technologies out there to get around the ionization problem, but I haven't heard of anything.

i don't understand the question (1)

rev.cpb (774776) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467760)

i own an epson 2200...

why would you (me) ever want to NOT use the epson ink (ultrachrome pigment)

why would you want to RISK putting in a lesser ink being into the holy shrine?

gawd... I mean, i can understand modding it out to be like the higher end vat-ink printers (with tubes)...

and besides... what 2nd rate ink jerk carries light magenta? or light black?

LIGHT BLACK

Re:i don't understand the question (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468038)

I have an epson printer and I use Calidad brand refills (not sure if these are available outside Australia). They carry light magenta and light cyan, the ink is of comparable quality to epsons, and a quarter of the cost.

I suppose that makes Calidad a first rate ink jerk?

It's a well known fact that printer companies sell printers at near-loss in order to sell high volumes of ink (which is artificially priced more than gold by weight, how does that work?). Printer companies also resort to new tricks, like electronically chipping cartridges so they can't be refilled, and half-filling cartridges in new printers (so the lucky punters have to buy new ink straight away!).

I don't see the "risk" factor being very high. Certainly no higher than the risk of giving my money to companies with such questionable business practices as the ones listed above.

For me, it's canon (2, Informative)

rufus0815 (651685) | more than 9 years ago | (#10467846)

I used to own an Epson photo printer some time ago; now I have a Canon 560i.

The problem with my old Epson printer was, that the ink dried out inside the printhead, changing the device from printer to garbage.
Due to the fact, that it's not possible to change the printhead (yourself) for epson printers and they are driven by piezo-elements - this means that, if the ink dries in the printhead, the printer is wrecked. (note: I didn't use the printer often...)

After that I went through some reviews at 'Tom`s Hardware' and bought myself a Canon 560i.
For my surprise :-D it has a seperate, replaceable printhead. This means you can change the printhead when it's no good anymore and you can change all ink colors seperatly. (Plus it doesn't use much ink - I've printed over a dozen letter-sized photos and still have more than 90% in the inktanks :-D )

What you want more ?

Canon for me too (1)

Timmy D Programmer (704067) | more than 9 years ago | (#10475325)

I have an s600, Quality is OK, not super, The ink for it is very cheap, and is changed 1 color at a time. Knockoff inks available for it are sub dirt-cheap. I've used it a LOT and it's still hapilly chugging along.

Epson Stylus Photo R800 (2, Interesting)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468128)

It has 8 cartridges... Red, Blue, Yellow, Cyan, Magenta, Matte Black, Gloss Black and a Gloss Coat.

Each cartridge is $12-$14. Depending on your printing needs you will run out of one or another color more frequently, but not all at once and not often. Quality is supreme. Hi-Res is 5760 x 1400 dpi and no bronzeing... great for giclee... super high qual prints. It has a setting for heavy weight papers... anyways... price it out and see if it is right for you... I love it.

Re:Epson Stylus Photo R800 (1)

harrkev (623093) | more than 9 years ago | (#10471950)

I have the little brother - R200.

Nice quality, but the price of ink is terible. They charge more for a black cart than for any color (around $17 for K, vs $14 for C,M,Y,c,m).

This is OK for photos, but for a utility printer (mostly text, mostly black), the little 13ml cartridges go fast.

But the R200 and R300 can print directly to CDs and DVDs.

Re:Epson Stylus Photo R800 (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 9 years ago | (#10472953)

I would get a laser workhorse for utility printing if I needed that.. I mostly print out proofs for my clients, very little text document printing.

For this I suggest buying a 4 year old HP Laserjet 4MP... or modern equivalent if you want networking features or wifi connectivity... those old laser printers can't be beat for utility.

Color printing is a serious hassle... (5, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468359)


26 refills, $17. Color printing is a serious hassle. After having many problems, we spent a lot of time researching it. We bought a Canon S820 and a Canon S520, and we have had good luck refilling the cartridges using a kit from IMS [ims-ink.com], which we bought at a Costco store. The refill kit is NOT available on the Costco web site. Each kit allows something like 26 refills, and the kits cost $17 at the Costco store. The second time you do a refill, it is extremely easy. We inspected photos and font characters under a magnifying glass and were not able to see a difference between the hugely expensive Canon ink and the refill ink. There has been no difference in fading.

The S820 has six separate cartridges. It is very slow, but photos are much nicer. The S520 has 4 cartridges. It's faster, and good for printing labels, for example. We have had no problems with print heads, which are separate from the tanks. Both use the same refill kit, which comes with 6 ink colors.

Buy low. Then buy low again. Our experience is that it is far better to pay $50 for a printer, and replace it often with a new $50 printer, than to pay a lot and buy a "good one". The technology is changing so fast that the $50 printer of a few months from now will be better than the $400 printer sold now.

HP: Ugh. In the past we have bought several HP color printers, and been badly burned. HP is expensive, and we have encountered many quirks. (Since Carly Fiorino took over HP, we see a lot of HP printer software seriously failing, right out of the box. Can someone with little technical experience lead a technically oriented company? It's like a horse that can do math. It appears to be possible, until you realize that it is just a series of tricks.)

Canon: Canon is an extremely adversarial company, in our experience, but less adversarial than the other printer manufacturers, at present.

Canon does product churning, and apparently deliberate product confusion. Before, all the companies sold 6 tank printers as "photo printers". Now Canon is selling 4 or 5 tank printers as photo printers. The Canon USA web site [canon.com] has liberal use of web developer resume-building technologies like Flash and Javascript that tend to defeat use of Mozilla's tabs, and provide for menu choice surprises. There are extremely long URIs which are difficult to email.

The Canon i860 [canon.com] is not related to the S820. Note that the web page says, "... it provides true 4 color photo printing...". One day a few months ago, the InkJet printer companies switched from "true 6 color photo printing" to the present "true 4 color photo printing". I don't know their motivation, but the 6 color printers print MUCH nicer photos, in our experience, with much better shadow detail. Tech company marketing departments take extreme advantage of any ignorance they find in customers.

Testing in the store. At the time, Fry's was doing its insane prices thing with Canon printers. It was possible to buy "refurbished" Canon printers for $30 and $50, which is what ours cost. They weren't really refurbished, it seemed. We tested them in the store and found that 1/3 taken from sealed boxes did not work. The third time we tried opening boxes in the store and testing printers with a laptop, we were told not to do it. The only alternative was to take printers back to the office and find that some of them didn't work. I can understand Fry's position; I can understand mine, too. We bought all the printers that we opened that worked.

Rebates: Be really careful with Fry's rebates; often we have had experiences where they use some trick. We bought Netgear products from Fry's with rebates. All of the rebate receipts were very long and had two places to put your address. If you didn't fill out both address areas, the rebate would be denied.

(Also, we found that the Netgear products were not desirable unless you like to talk to tech support people in Tamil Nadu, India. They are pleasant enough, but don't seem to know anything helpful, and there were a LOT of quirks and design deficiencies in the Netgear products.)

Often we have found that a rebate indicates that batch of product has been found to have some defect.

Use the F word. Note that the F word, Fraud, is very powerful with rebate companies. It is expensive for them to hire new employees and the F word causes the the rebate fulfullment companies to lose employees, especially if it is mentioned that no company managers would be found liable in a court case, only employees. People who make $8 per hour don't like the idea of going to jail for their company.

Reviews: I'm not sure how to duplicate this experience of finding refillable printers today. Typically, printer companies lie about printer speed, for example. Typically they write their literature in such a way as to hide important facts.

We have found PC Magazine reviews to be extremely unreliable. PC World [pcworld.com] has been more reliable, but still we see recommendations that seem to be motivated by someone giving money under the table to the writer. We don't know if the $80 i455 [pcworld.com], for example, has refillable cartridges. Here's a quote from the review: Though "Photo Printer" is part of its name, we consider the Canon i455 a general-purpose inkjet printer. For one thing, it uses only four inks, instead of the six or seven that most photo printers employ. An honest review of inkjet printers would be of a total system, including refillable ink.

All you want is something that you know is achievable, reasonably priced color printing, but to get that it is necessary to do battle with the forces of evil. Okay, maybe just the forces of ignorance and employee burnout.

--
15 of the 19 9/11 attackers were Saudis. Many don't like the U.S. Gov. influence [pbs.org] on their country.

Laser (1)

Apreche (239272) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468499)

Laser printer. On ebay you can get used laser printers that work just fine for quite a nice cost. And even thought you have to buy toner cartridges from the OEM they last for freakin' ever. In the long run the savings of a color laser printer far outweighs the initial cost.

go (2, Insightful)

jjshoe (410772) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468580)

Go color laser. Pull out your calculator and do the page comparisons. Not only will you find out it's cheaper per sheet to run a color laser you will also find the quality and the fact that the ink wont run off the page when it's wet top selling features.

depends on volume (1)

aderusha (32235) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468639)

the short answer is that what you want will depend on the volume of prints you plan to output.

if you'll look around at most every digital photography review site, you'll find that pretty much everybody recommends and uses epson printers. i'm currently using the epson r800 and it's great for my technical docs and printing direct to cds, and my wife (who is a professional photographer) loves it for photos. epson is very particular about the inks they use, both in terms on longevity and in color gamut.

with any inkjet printer, you're going to get raped on ink from the manufacturer. if you're going to be printing with some serious volume, look into a continuous flow inking system. the system that (used to be) offered here: http://www.inksupply.com/index.cfm?source=html/cfs _r800_new.html [inksupply.com] is what i'm currently using. i'm not sure what's going on w/ their site, but it looks like they may be re-engineering the unit. anyway, for $400 bucks you get what would roughly be $800-$1000 worth of ink when purchased from epson and refills for this system are $200, resulting in a huge cost savings.

This really depends. (1)

Raven42rac (448205) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468699)

If you do a lot of printing, I would suggest a model without the print heads built in to the cartridge, I think Canon and Lexmark are like that. If you print a lot, I would suggest an HP. Maybe even a color laser, if you have the scratch.

Re:This really depends. (1)

SithLordOfLanc (683305) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468967)

You'll need to be careful about getting a color laser printer to do photos. They really don't have the color depth to do great photo's.

You might want to look into dye-sub technology. Both wEpson and HiTouch make the media fairly affordable. You get the paper and ribbon in the same pack. I believe the Epson PictureMate's media kit costs about $20 US. This will get you 50 prints.

Photo printing (1)

KilobyteKnight (91023) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468895)

If photo printing is your main use, you should consider just having a printing service do it. Walgreens, Walmart, and several online photo printing services will give you higher quality, longer lasting prints. When you factor in the cost of the ink, printheads, photo paper, the occasional inevitable screwup, and the cost of the printer itself, it is usually less expensive also.

I expect this will change in the near future. Probably when photo laser printers become affordable.

Right now printer makers all seem to be gearing their business models on making their profit on the ink and printheads. They practically give away their printers. I have actually bought new printers because it was less expensive than buying a new printhead for my old printers. I threw away 3 perfectly good printers (a HP and 2 Canons) when I moved 6 months ago because it was too expensive to buy printheads.

I got burned by the whole ink deal (2, Insightful)

mzs (595629) | more than 9 years ago | (#10469008)

I had an early HP ink jet, and it was fantastic. How early, well it used a tractor feed so it had to have the kind of paper where you tore off the sides and was connected to Victor (XT class machine). That thing was fantastic, lasted more than a decade, the print head was NEVER changed. I would just squirt more (inexpensive) ink into the reservoir. Many years later I bought an early color bubble jet from Canon, to get color and experienced ALL of the hassles that people now know are common with ink type printers. It was so wasteful and expensive to run that for charts I used my trusty old imagewriter with a color ribbon until last year.

What changed about a year ago? The price of both new and used color laser printers fell into range. I believe that you can get a new duplex capable color laser printer from Xerox for $400 at todays prices. (That is if my memory serves, possibly there was a mail in rebate involved.) Our laserprinter is used for almost everything and it natively supports PS and has an RJ-45 and print server built-in, it is an HP something or other.

That printer is used for almost everything my wife and I print. For photos we have a small dye-sub printer. Sony something or other. We just have it hooked-up to the TV, not even to a computer and we only use it rarely because it is cheaper to just go to pretty-much any photo place. It is nice though for when you care about the color to be exactly predictable. (Each photo place seems to get the colors a bit different in my experience.) And I have had some problems with photo places having bad card readers which will sometimes be unable to read a few of the pictures out of the multitude on the card. So for situations like that or when you want the pictures now (trust me when you have kids and your relatives or friends come over that happens) the dye-sub printer is used.

So that is my attitude. Do not fool around with ink anymore. It was SUCH a hassle for me that it was just not worth it in terms of time and ink lost. It all just led to aggravation. I cannot even name the printers that I use now, and I like it this way, because everything just works. The printer I hated, oh I REMEMBER that one alright, a BJC-70. I remember that from all the times I was on the net searching for help and because of hassle it was!

You may want to consider... (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 9 years ago | (#10469060)

getting a printer that uses chip-less cartridges.

I believe that Canon printers are good in that respect.

HP (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10469828)

This is one of my peeves about HP. While they're no ignorent enough so as to "prevent" printing on refilled cartridges, they do not register them as full when the cartridge has been removed+filled+replaced

However, they do still print, the software-timed status meter just stays low and you get warnings every now and again. There is a trick with covering various contacts on the cartridge that will trick it into resetting counters though - but while it worked on one cartridge the other didn't seem to fall for it.

Still, I'm in love with HP's quality, and from one set of cartridges I got over an album of 4x5"-6x9" prints (and some bigger ones), plus a few other printjobs.

Also, the in-cartridge printheads mean that while the cartridges cost more (to but new ones, not fill), I don't have to pay for a whole new printer as you often have to do if the in-printer ones get too plugged up.

HP uses color for B&W (1)

Rufus88 (748752) | more than 9 years ago | (#10469210)

I was printing B&W text on my HP deskjet when the output started getting really crummy. I knew both my black and CMY tanks weere running low, but I wasn't printing color at the moment and I like to hold off on cartridge replacement until absolutely necessary. So, I replaced only the black. The output still looked awful. After going a few rounds with HP customer support, I finally found out the answer: Even when you're just printing pure black, the printer spits out a coat of cyan as a primer under the black text!!! So, unless all your graphics/photo output is heavy on the magenta and yellow, your color cartridges are nuked prematurely by pure black text output. This revelation bothers me immensely, though I'm sure HP is quite pleased about it.

Re:HP uses color for B&W (1)

b-baggins (610215) | more than 9 years ago | (#10470619)

Adding Cyan to straight black gives a richer and "truer" black than just straight black ink. Talk to a painter. To get a rich black, they always mix a bit of blue into the black ink.

Re:HP uses color for B&W (1)

Rufus88 (748752) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581554)

Thanks for the information. But if that's true, they ought to mix some cyan right into the black tank so that the black tank is all you need to print black text.

Laser for documents, walgreens for prints (2, Insightful)

Jepler (6801) | more than 9 years ago | (#10469496)

While I still have a 4-year-old HP inkjet as my home printer, I plan to replace it with a laser. While I originally bought this printer to print photos, nowadays I get photos printed at Walgreens down the street. (1-hour service, "light-jet" style process) Someday I'll do a "digital picture frame" like another poster suggests.

HP Printheads (1)

erykjj (213892) | more than 9 years ago | (#10469550)

These can be expensive and are prone to air ingestion (when you run your cartridge dry) or even when simply replacing the ink cartridges; this pretty much makes them useless and in need of replacement.

Big SemiPro HP (1)

MacBorg (740087) | more than 9 years ago | (#10469901)

I've got an HP cp1700 - $500 uberInkjet printer (although they go on ebay for $200) - pure CMYK system with easily replacable individual cartridges and printheads - so when I'm printing tons and tons of B&W photos... I just replace the black cart. Beware, it does eat nearly a meter of desk space... it's huge.

Depends on your usage (1)

jakel2k (736582) | more than 9 years ago | (#10470536)

The really depends on how much you use it. I've had both and with my printing needs the In-cartridge was better. The reason being is that we don't print on a regular basis.

The cartridge with only the ink replacement dried up during the month that we didn't print the ink dried. Now when we tried printing again and when we decided to fork over $30(CDN) for more ink, the printer still wouldn't print. It turned out that the print head ink dried in the print head. Asking repair shops and doing some googling the solution that we found was to soak the print head in water for 24-48 hours and to clean the head with rubbing alcohol. Still didn't work. We then asked the cost to replace the print head on the model... it turned out it would be cheaper to buy a new printer.

We now own a printer that replaces the print head with the ink. The cost is a little more expensive to replace the cartridge but at least we're keeping another additional rpinter out of our landfills.

What you have to keep in mind is that the ink will run out eventually and when doing so you have to keep in mind if you'll be replacing the ink right away or will it be a few days before you do.

Do you really need color? (1)

Wokan (14062) | more than 9 years ago | (#10473148)

I had to seriously rethink my need for color. I don't print family photos, and I can get better results from the printer at the drug store kiosk. I wanted something that would not gum up if I also went long periods without printing. I eventually ditched my inkjet for a cheap laser. I picked up the cheapest Brother laser known to work with Linux/CUPS and haven't looked back.

Kinko's (1)

IMarvinTPA (104941) | more than 9 years ago | (#10473719)

I've found that for my printing needs, usually black and white text with tables, that Kinko's works just fine. My Cannon S110 costs about 12 cents per page and runs out of ink after 100 sheets. Kinko's charges about 9 cents per sheet or so depending on the volume. (More is cheaper still.)
Just upload your files to their online form and pick a store. It'll usually be done in a few hours. You can go pick it up, or even ship it.

Marv.

You fucking queer (0, Troll)

FrogAlarmClock (820108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10476562)

Fuck, where do you get off on all of this? You people have willingly tossed your very humanity into the swirling abyss just so you could obtain the knowledge of printers of all things? What force compelled you to throw away your life on computer printers? While you may not be the most attractive or witty of people, it's not like using Linux was ever going to improve your odds. Think, you people may have once had the chance to get married, have kids and actually live a happy life, but instead you just had to go to the high school's computer club and destroy your life right then and there. You are ghouls, nonhumans, living piles of trash which only serve to deplete our natural resources faster. I hope your parents kick you out of your basement and force you to at the very least start paying rent. Maybe then you will start to adopt concepts such as responsibility and hard work that the rest of us picked up during high school while you were arguing with your friends about open source.

Why? (1)

cr0sh (43134) | more than 9 years ago | (#10477938)

Why are you printing your digital photos? They are digital, they are pure information, they can be transferred and stored indefinitely - as long as you keep transferring them to the "next" digital medium. You can email them, you can edit them, you can view them on your monitor, on your TV, on your projector, on your cell phone. You can put them on a website for others to view. Why the need for paper? If you wanted "real" photographs, why not just buy a real camera with real film (which, at least then - unless you have a very expensive ultra-megapixel camera - you can get quality enlargements from)?

Computers and computer technology give us the ability to get away completely from paper, yet there are still tons of people who cling to it. Yes, there are certain facets of life which need paper still - books, for example, still aren't fun to read on computer systems (but we are rapidly moving to e-ink and similar systems). But digital photography is an area that can be completely paperless - case in point: I have some very old images on my PC now that I digitized on my old Color Computer using a DS-9 (I think that is right) digitizer cartridge and a video camera - they are over 15 years old, but I can still view them no problem - this is the power of digital technology. I expect to be able to see all of my current digital pictures on my future machines as well (and, I will *still* be able to view my old CoCo digitized images).

As far as printers are concerned - my wife and I owned an Epson Color Sylus 700 or some POS like that. It was always blowing through ink and we replaced cartridges nearly every month. I got fed up, went down to a local surplus computer junk dealer, picked up a used HP LaserJet 6P and a refilled toner cartrige for $100.00, and never looked back. Excellent print quality (though B&W only - but we found we hardly used the color anyhow), always ready when we need it, no print head cleaning, can run just about any kind of paper through it (whereas the Epson I had to use 24lb paper to get a crisp image - cheaper 20lb would bleed and look blurry) - I simply love it.

I will never go back to using an inkjet (ok, I take that back - if I can ever get my Radio Shack CGP-220 running with my CoCo again, I might use that)...

Throw my vote to Canon (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 9 years ago | (#10479953)

I recommend Canon mainly because they have not pissed me off either on the product side or the buisness practices side. MY old Canon BJC printer lasted a long time and was good with ink (replaced the ink $7-$15 ink tanks about twice a year, maybe three times) OTOH when the Canon did eventually die I got an epson (had an old dot matrix epson which was a good printer for several years before getting the Canon) but the newer Epson printers suck ink down fast and the ink costs about twice as much as Canon ink. Lexmark is quite simply not an option, their actions have shown them to be evil, as well as overpricing their ink even worse than other companies.
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